Home to students, professors and hearty discussion by day, one classroom is transformed into a gamer’s paradise on Friday nights. The room fills with students, but rather than bringing in notebooks and writing utensils, the room begins to fill with televisions and gaming consoles.
Button Mashers is a group of Western students who enjoy playing a variety of video games. While they play mainly Nintendo games, they also play Playstation. They set up televisions with gaming consoles hooked up and the members of the club pull up chairs and sit around the television and play multiplayer games with each other.
Their chairs faced the overhead projector, while some club members played their own hand-held gaming devices as well.
The club is run by president Alex Matheny, a business management major. Matheny got involved with the club his sophomore year at Western.
Matheny said he has been gaming for as long as he can remember.
“I remember getting my first game device when I was 8 on Christmas, it was the original Game Boy that came with a copy of ‘Toy Story.’ Later on I got ‘Pokémon’ and I fell in love with this hobby and I started building off of it,” Matheny said.
The club is called Button Mashers because of the intense use of buttons in most video games, Matheny said.
“Whenever people get into their games they mash their buttons, for example, doing shoot, shoot, shoot, jump, jump, jump or whatever the game entails. It’s just a clever play on words,” Matheny said.
Some of the students would chat amongst themselves as they played their hand-held gaming devices,with a few members hunched over their computers in an intense game of Warframe, a shooter action game. The students playing multiplayer games remained competitive with each other, with friendly banter about who was going to win the game.
In the most recent club meeting on Friday, Jan. 8, the group watched a live stream called Awesome Games Done Quick, hosted on the website Twitch. AGDQ raises money for cancer research. In the live stream, professional gamers performed speedrunning, in which they attempt to beat a game in a specific amount of time, while playing games such as “Super Mario Bros 2.”
Button Mashers occasionally enjoys watching the professionals play, Matheny said. While watching the live stream, club members discussed the games and the speedrunning ability of the professionals.
Button Mashers has been an established club at Western for more than five years. Matheny said the club started as a couple of students renting out a room on campus and setting up two televisions with consoles as an excuse to play video games with their friends.
Matheny said he felt the club has greatly enhanced his time at Western.
“If I didn’t have a meetup with people that I enjoy my time with, I might be a little more stressed out about school. With this club it gives me time to relax and take it easy for a few hours. I can forget about school for a bit and spend time with people and make new friends,” Matheny said.
Sociology major Amelia Delarber has attended the club meetings for two years. She learned about Button Mashers though Western’s Info Fair.
“When I’m here, I like to play games that you can co-op with people,” Delarber said. “When I’m by myself, I like to play role-playing games.”
The club is not limited to people who are completely devoted to gaming. Samantha Ranniger, an art education major, comes to the club with Delarber a few times a year. She said she prefers puzzle and simple role-playing games.
“The people are what really make the club new and interesting. Every quarter we have someone new coming to check out the club,” Matheny said. “I try to bond people together and get to know who is on campus and who likes the games that we play.”
Button Mashers is always welcoming new members.The club meets once a week on Fridays at 6 p.m. in Communications Facility 314.
Watch more about the club here: